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A Streetcar Ride through Roland Park and Time

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No. 24 trolley schedule, front and back (between 1940

and 1947).

 

 

No. 29 trolley schedule and map, front and back (between 1939 and 1946).

 

Both trolley schedules from Leslie Goldsmith collection.

 

 

                    

No. 24 Streetcar in Roland Park, Summer 1946.

(Movie clip courtesy of Barrie F. Sigler.)

 

This fascinating clip is part of the J.W. and Helen Tottle family history. The Tottles and their descendants have lived in Roland Park since 1910. First renting 8 Longwood Road, Mr. and Mrs. Tottle subsequently moved in 1912 to Sunset Knoll, 1013 St. George's Road (which still stands) in New North Roland Park.

Shortly after World War II, the youngest of the Tottle children, Elizabeth Scott (née Tottle), along with her husband John, bought 8 Longwood — where the family's Roland Park journey had originally begun. Barrie Sigler — who, along with her husband Richard, is the current (2010) owner of 8 Longwood — is the niece of John and Elizabeth Scott (or JB and Bett, as they were known). This footage was provided by Barrie Sigler and adapted into digital format by Houpla, Inc., a company owned by Michael Brassert and Brooke McDonald. Brooke is the great-granddaughter of J.W. and Helen Tottle.

The movie starts with the photographer standing at the intersection of Longwood Road and Roland Avenue, looking north toward the Roland Park Elementary/Middle School (hidden by foliage). The no. 24 streetcar comes into view, stopping in front of Grauel's, a supermarket that stood for years where Eddie's is now located. (For a period Grauel's advertisement, click here.) Four children get onto the trolley. These children, who are the subjects of the movie, are Barrie Sigler's older cousins: Chris Scott, Dick Allen, John Frames and Rob Frames. At the same time, a young woman runs across the picture, this being Elizabeth Scott. (At this time, the Scotts had only recently bought 8 Longwood.) Having turned around off camera, the trolley makes its way to Lakeside, a leisure area in the general vicinity of the Lake Roland dam. The clip ends with the children being dropped off again in front of Grauel's.

The clip is dated 1946 and by the foliage and warm-weather clothes was pretty obviously shot in the summer. At this time, the Roland Park stretch of the no. 24 line had less than a year to live. Located on Upland Road behind the Tudor-style shopping center and the firehouse, the Roland Park Car House, which serviced the nos. 10, 24 and 29 streetcars, had just closed permanently, in April 1946. The end was nearing for streetcar service in Roland Park.

The no. 10 line, which had previously come all the way to the car house up Roland Avenue from Hampden, had converted to trackless trolley in April 1940; it now only came as for north as the Roland Water Tower. (When still a tracked trolley route, the no. 10 had come all the way to the car house. On its conversion to trackless in 1940, the Roland Park Civic League had prohibited the no. 10's coming further north than the water tower because this would have resulted in three sets of unsightly power lines, one along the median for the nos. 24 and 29 tracked trolleys, and one each along the north- and southbound carriageways of Roland Avenue for the north- and southbound no. 10 trackless trolleys.) By 1946, that left only two tracked lines serving Roland Park, the 29 and the 24.

The no. 29 line, which reached Roland Park via University Parkway from St. Paul Street, used the car house as its "base" until the latter was closed (April 1946). After that, the no. 29 used a car house in Remington, but still came up to the Roland Park shopping-center loop.

The no. 24 line — originally styled the no. 11 and then the no. 28 — had only a short run: from the Lakeside leisure park near Lake Roland in the north down to the Roland Water Tower in the south, where passengers changed onto the no. 10 trackless trolley. On June 22, 1947 the no. 29 trolley line was converted to a bus line, with its northernmost stop now being Lake Avenue, not the shopping-center loop. There was now no need for the no. 24 to come down into Roland Park proper from Lakeside. After June 1947, the no. 24 was not seen in Roland Park.

But it survived for a little while. There was no road for the last, northernmost mile or so of the no. 24 route out to Lakeside, so from 1947 until early 1950, the no. 24 soldiered on up and down the last mile of the Lakeside route. The rails south of Lake Avenue were pulled up, the sole remaining no. 24 trolley — car no. 5687 — being now isolated on its single bit of track. Even the southbound track of the Lakeside mile was removed and car 5687 ran forlornly up and down the northbound track from Lake Avenue to Lakeside for a couple of years. On January 28, 1950 it made its last run and was thereafter dismantled on the spot, there being no means of taking it to one of the car houses downtown.

 

— D.P. Munro

July 17, 2010

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